First Thanksgiving

People gathered together and happily sharing food: what’s not to love? I, for one, love the pie, as most teenagers like me do. The wide variety of food and the overall tranquil mood make Thanksgiving my favorite holiday.

I have begun volunteering for Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural collaboration that provides education about the history of Maine and Wabanaki peoples, and I have been shocked by the things I have learned. The Thanksgiving story I learned in elementary school is nowhere close to the full truth.

For example, one commonly taught fact: Squanto, a friendly, English-speaking Native American, helped the Pilgrims learn to plant corn and survive that “first cold, hard, winter.” But there is more. Tisquantum (Squanto), a young boy at the time, was taken from his home by an English explorer and would be sold into slavery. Later, escaping and returning home, he found his people had been wiped out by European diseases. When Tisquantum helped the Pilgrims, it was part of a political strategy of the native people to build relations with the Europeans. Both sides agreed to peace treaties, but the Europeans broke them.

Although I still love Thanksgiving, it is important to learn what truly happened on those chilly fall days, many years ago. The first Thanksgiving was a peaceful dot in a painting of violence that decimated the native peoples.

Isaiah Miller


Improve tourism

Recently, there have been a number of letters praising the idea of a national park in Maine’s north woods, all claiming a park would improve our economy. I hope people think about the kinds of jobs that would be created by a park. Waiting tables and cleaning rooms are a far cry from the jobs in the forest products industry we would lose by taking that land out of production. To say nothing about taking the land off the tax rolls.

Some claim the forest products industry is declining so we don’t need the wood. Not so. Maine has to import raw forest products to keep our mills running even though we export some forest products to find better markets.

Making thousands of acres of productive forests off limits to our forest industry is only going to make it harder for the mills we have left and endanger Maine’s best jobs.

Then ask yourself this: With all the private land we have unrestricted access to, how does a national park and restricting our use of thousands of acres of land improve tourism?

Doug Thomas


Stop Obama

In President Barack Obama’s 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope,” he wrote, “The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century. [I]t … threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

And since 2000, we’ve issued 30 million visas for permanent immigrants and temporary workers. We have too many workers chasing too few jobs. Isn’t it obvious? Plus, 11 million undocumented workers with no right to be here and a federal government that refuses to enforce our laws.

In October 2010, Obama told Univision: “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.”

And in February 2013 during a Google Hangout, when asked if he could unilaterally halt deportations, he said: “I am not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute the laws that are passed.”

With his executive action from last week, Obama has become a king. And he knows it.

Congress has repeatedly rejected a blanket amnesty. Obama’s executive action is a shameless betrayal of American families, the Constitution and the rule of laws. Congress should stop him.

Gayle Magill


Manufactured outrage

After reading the Bangor Daily News editorial on Nov 13, entitled “Manufactured outrage stymies Obamacare,” I am disappointed that the editorial staff saw fit to put the wrong spin on an issue that was confirmed by at least three videotaped presentations. This included information expressed by a person contracted by the administration to craft crucial parts of Obamacare. Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at MIT, unequivocally made several shocking admissions that were needed to promote this law. Among these was the necessity of a lack of transparency, knowingly making promises that would not be kept, and stating that American voters were too stupid to understand the law.

This is just another shining example of flagrant, calculated, deceitful means employed by the “transparent” Obama administration to justify its end. The Bangor Daily News’ attempt to minimize and blame others for the nation’s fury over these revelations by calling it “manufactured outrage” is unconscionable and irresponsible journalism at best. The BDN owes the readers of this newspaper and all Maine voters a sincere apology for its implied flawed belief that the foregoing tactics employed by the Obama administration are acceptable in our society.

Joe Bertolaccini


Ironic concert

I attended the Bob Seger concert on Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. As I looked out at the sold-out crowd of about 8,000 people, I had to laugh. How ironic, I thought. In 1971, Seger came to the Bangor Auditorium. He had had a relatively big hit with “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” a few years prior, plus a couple of good LPs. My girlfriend and I grabbed a couple of folding chairs as everyone just sat randomly in front of the stage. We listened to Devonsquare do a set, and then Seger took the stage and rocked the house. Why is this all ironic? Because there were no more than 100 people there that night.

Terry Leavitt